Tainan Holiday Sketchbook

I’m back in Taipei! My mum visited me in Taiwan, I had a brilliant holiday with her! Together we boarded a High Speed Rail train and zoomed off South to flee the cold and clouds. Under mum’s orders we first stopped by the Bird Society in Taipei, where by chance we were put into contact with Awei, a birdwatcher in Tainan. He was incredibly, marvelously kind and spent nearly two full days enthusiastically driving us to various secret spots rich in wading birds, letting us goggle at them through his telescope inbetween chatting about birds (with me cross translating) and buying us Tainan specialties like winter melon tea and dried mango.

Here are some of my sketchbook drawings! There are actually a whole bunch more, but I wasn’t sure if I should put all of them up…


Loooook it’s a black-faced spoonbill!!! 黑臉琵鷺 in Chinese. It was very, very exciting to see these rare birds splashing around and nibbling up beakfulls of water to gently groom each other with. Some had exciting head plumes and yellow highlights.

We got to see plenty of egrets, sandpipers, exciting ducks like pintails, teals and shovelers, avocets, plus one of my other favourites, black-winged stilts with their impossibly long, bright red legs; they’re apparently pretty common there. 









We got to have dinner with Awei’s family as well, they were just wonderful! Here is a small watercolour portrait of Awei, Lilian and their two boys. (Click for larger scale) I did this from memory so I hope it’s ok.

On our third and last day in Tainan the weather brightened up, so we had a lovely timy sunning in the garden by Chihkan tower:

 It’s a Dutch fort built in 1653, previously named Fort Provintia. There’s a statue to the God of Literature in one of the top pavilions, which students still come to to pray and hang up little charms to wish themselves good luck on exams.

Also visited the Matsu temple, the City God temple, Koxinga’s shrine, and the Confucian temple, where I had to paint a rooftop dragon. Here he is (though my actual painting is about half this size). 

Hope you had a good few weeks as well!

This entry was posted in BIRDS and their secrets, Sketchbook, Taiwan journal and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Tainan Holiday Sketchbook

  1. skeletaleejit says:

    Fantastic! More! Those are indeed stelae things back there, excitingly written in both Chinese and Manchu (the latter using the Mongolian script, so they’re all curly and lovely, and read top to bottom then left to right, unlike the Chinese, of course, which go t’other way). If you have more bird sketches, please post them!


    • It’s so great you recognise these things (and tell me more about them, haha)! I loved your description and photos of your walk around Qixing shan, by the way, and am very impressed by the early start : ) Hope you had a good time showing your parents around!

      • skeletaleejit says:

        We had a great time! Are you hanging out with the Far East Book 3 now, or did you skip over to radio plays or even purple book five? I was in Da’an Park this afternoon, and was thinking of your work, as the pod was stuffed solid with herons, egrets, things I don’t know at all and turtles. Oh, and I am very impressed with the macaque and the cave adventure.
        Toddle pip

  2. Clare says:

    How lovely Bee! That you had such a wonderful time and met such a kindred spirit, and also your sketches – so full of life and personality!
    Hope life continues very well for you for your remaining weeks/ months there! Love, Clare

  3. Loved reading about and seeing the drawings of your trip! Can just imagine you and your mum having a fabulous time together!

  4. MOTHER says:

    Gorgeous, gorgeous capturing of miracles seen…. But let’s have the rest too, please Bee….
    As I traveled back home I thought birdlife in Holland was sure to be tame and lacklustre, but NO NO NO – its still lovely here too!!! I just walked through warm spring sunshine and saw in the wetlands near the water-tower two FABULOUS dancing courting grebes, doing simultaneous synchronized choreographies with crowns unfurled…. then they swam away from each other, dived for an underwater return race and emerged close together in a high flash-splash above the surface… divine is the word…

  5. Yiong says:

    Will have to educate myself on birds if I want to follow your artful sketches – Did you introduce your mum to tchou tou foo?

    • K-chan says:

      Introduce me to what…?????

      • Chou doufu: stinky tofu : D

        Yiong – Karen asked me if I had tried it and I had to admit I hadn’t. She called me a coward, so I asked if I should get her some, and somehow the conversation mysteriously hastened into a different direction…

  6. YT says:

    I’m glad you had fun in Tainan! It’s one of my favorite cities, and you went to some of my favorite places. =) Do you scan your sketches for posting or do you take pictures?

  7. ricolt says:

    Very nice how you catch the sights, both in writing and with the tiny pen! I agree with the other comment: more! Have a good time. And join for coffee when you’re back!

  8. Nilufer caglar says:

    Hallelujah for great encounters with strangers! How lovely to have a bird eye view of taipei!
    Thank you for sharing….love from athens..

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